Let’s Talk About Guns

Jun 22nd, 2015 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Guns, From Childhood to Senior Years

Let’s talk about guns today. Many, if not most, of us seniors likely grew up with guns in the house. I remember Dad’s guns were kept in a locked cabinet. He took the shotguns out every fall just before hunting season began in Iowa. He cleaned them and had them ready for opening day of pheasant season. That day, he and my younger tom-boy sister were up before dawn, heading out with friends to hunt pheasants in the cornfields surrounding the little town where we lived.

Our family met extended family members one day at a shooting range and we all shot at clay pigeons. At age 10 or so, I remember learning how to use a 4-10 shotgun that day. Daddy showed me how to follow the clay pigeon flying through the air, and pull the trigger when i had it in my sights. I followed the instructions, pulled the trigger when I thought I had it in my sights, and the clay pigeon shattered into a thousand pieces when the lead from the cartridge hit the flying object. I remember feeling proud that I could hit the target, and then never shot another gun/rifle/shotgun for another 60 years.

Seniors and The Gun Issue

Some of you seniors will find owning a gun a non-issue. You don’t have one and will never buy one. That’s a reasonable choice.

However, for me, when Jerry asked me to get a handgun and learn how to use it, I readily complied. A little strange for a senior citizen who is a pacifist at heart. But I wanted him to feel safe as his life was waning, and it was a safety issue for him. So I bought the Beretta. The Rosa. And I registered for a Concealed Weapon Course at the local gun club.

That course was a huge eye-opener for me. The entire focus of the class, with the exception of going out on the range and passing the ‘Hit the Target’ test, was learning how to avoid every having to point the gun at another human being. My pacifist heart totally approved of that goal. I learned from the experts and passed the course.

My point in this story is to suggest to other senior citizens that one can be in support of reasonable gun control laws and be a responsible gun owner at the same time. There just has to be some reason and safety applied. So here is what I think are reasonable and safe expectations:

  • If you are going to own a handgun, take a course on use and safety from the experts. Be able to pass the course. Don’t assume anything. You are not an expert if you haven’t taken the course, even though your ego may try to convince you otherwise.
  • Store your handgun and your ammunition in different rooms.
  • Never store your handgun with the magazine loaded.
  • Review the safety information, that you received from the experts, often. We seniors have a tendency to lose details about a number of important things in our lives as we age.
  • Go to the practice range regularly; you will need to practice using it often in order to maintain your acuity with the weapon.
  • If the experts tell you it is time to stop using/owning the handgun, take the advice seriously and give it up. Experts are better judges of your ability to seriously handle a weapon than you are.

Please feel free to comment on this issue. It is important and we need to be communicating about it.

Dr Sharon Shaw Elrod



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